Alito? Boo!

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Bush Administration, Supreme Court

I’m sorry about the page display problem. The site looks fine in Firefox, but is scrambled up in Internet Explorer. I’ll try to get it fixed today. If you can’t wait, though, download Firefox (free).

Anyway–Reuters is reporting that Bush is going to nominate U.S. federal appeals court judge Samuel Alito to replace Sandra Day O’Connor on the Supreme Court. RedState is thrilled. Therefore, be very afraid.

Here’s the scoop from Law.com:

In ACLU v. Schundler, Alito wrote the majority opinion holding that a city’s holiday display that included a créche and a menorah did not violate the establishment clause of the First Amendment because it also included secular symbols such as Frosty the Snowman and a banner promoting racial diversity.

On abortion, Alito was the lone dissenter in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, in which the 3rd Circuit struck down a Pennsylvania law that required women seeking abortions to inform their husbands.

Alito argued that the Pennsylvania law’s restrictions should have been upheld, saying “the Pennsylvania Legislature could have rationally believed that some married women are initially inclined to obtain an abortion without their husbands’ knowledge because of perceived problems — such as economic constraints, future plans or the husbands’ previously expressed opposition — that may be obviated by discussion prior to the abortion.”

In other words, husbands can veto a woman’s decision to terminate a pregnancy. We’re just cows, after all.

The case went on to the Supreme Court, resulting in a 6-3 decision that reaffirmed Roe v. Wade and struck down the spousal notification provision of the law. But late Chief Justice William Rehnquist, in his dissent, quoted Alito’s underlying dissent and said he agreed with his reasoning.

Other Alito rulings have made it easier for employers to practice race and sex discriminate. What a guy. No wonder the Right loves him.

Think Progress has more.

Update: It’s official — Alito is the choice. We could have a fight on our hands, says CNN:

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid — a Nevada Democrat who had recommended Miers — said Sunday he feared Bush would “try to placate the right wing” with his next nominee, “and that’s a mistake.”

“If he wants to divert attention … he can send us someone who’s going to cause a lot of problems,” Reid told CNN, saying the “radical right wing” was “pushing all his buttons, and he may just go along.”

Reid said the choice of Alito “would create a lot of problems.”

“That is not one of the names that I’ve suggested to the president,” he said. “In fact, I’ve done the opposite.”

At least, if the Dems put up a fight, righties can no longer argue that the president’s nominee automatically deserves a vote in the Senate. Harriet Miers never got one.

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13 Comments

  1. Steve M.  •  Oct 31, 2005 @10:17 am

    At least, if the Dems put up a fight, righties can no longer argue that the president’s nominee automatically deserves a vote in the Senate. Harriet Miers never got one.

    The hell they can’t. They’re Republicans. They can do whatever they want. They’ll say Miers wasn’t denied an up-or-down vote because she withdrew herself before she could get one. They’ll say this is very, very different from being blocked by those unhinged obstructionist Democrats. And they’ll be seconded not just by their own kind, but by at least five of the following: Nicholas Kristof, Richard Cohen, Michael Kinsley, Cokie Roberts, Bob Woodward, David Broder, and Joe Klein.

  2. No Blood for Hubris  •  Oct 31, 2005 @10:43 am

    It’s all about overturning Roe v. Wade, and Dems need to frame it that way.

  3. merciless  •  Oct 31, 2005 @12:12 pm

    I’m not sure, no blood, that it’s even that simple. Back in my more naive days (like a couple of years ago) I thought maybe the whole thing was about Roe. Now I think the end-timers won’t be satisfied with even that. They want no less than the complete subjugation of women, in every way that can be done.

    My hope is that they’re finally going to have to show their hand. No more code words; no more talk of “Dred Scott” and “the sanctity of life”. My hope is that they’re going to finally come out of the closet and say what they really mean. And they will get eaten alive for it. But the dems, moderates, and people who still have their heads in the air instead of in their asses will have to do the eating. And on this halloween day, I’m feeling hungry…

  4. maha  •  Oct 31, 2005 @1:20 pm

    Sundries seems to be saying a clinic could just take a woman’s word that she spoke to her husband. Kind of a toothless law, eh?

  5. JWG  •  Oct 31, 2005 @1:46 pm

    Kind of a toothless law, eh?
    It was toothless. There was no requirement to verify that the wife was truthful in her declaration that the husband knew. Her unnotarized signature was enough. But it’s not the role of the judiciary to determine how useful the law is.

    Alito even says in his comment:
    …this provision merely requires a married woman desiring an abortion to certify that she has notified her husband or to claim one of the statutory exceptions.

  6. maha  •  Oct 31, 2005 @2:00 pm

    Still, (1) it treats a woman as if she were a minor child, not an adult; (2) if she lies and the husband found out about the abortion, could he take legal action against her or the clinic? Seems to me this opens up a big can of worms.

    My solution: Assume the woman is an adult who can make her own decisions about her own body. I think most married couples would discuss this decision, but if a woman decides she can’t face another pregnancy and another baby, but knows her husband would pitch a fit over an abortion, she shouldn’t have to be put in a position to lie to someone to get an abortion.

  7. JWG  •  Oct 31, 2005 @3:05 pm

    she shouldn’t have to be put in a position to lie to someone to get an abortion

    Then it’s a bad law. That opinion doesn’t automatically make it unconstitutional. It means you should elect a different legislature.

  8. maha  •  Oct 31, 2005 @3:22 pm

    Then it’s a bad law. That opinion doesn’t automatically make it unconstitutional. It means you should elect a different legislature.

    It means the Gubmint, federal and state, should keep its bleeping paws off people’s personal lives.

  9. No Blood for Hubris  •  Oct 31, 2005 @3:37 pm

    merciless, there’s certainly truth in what you say. I bloggeda while back about the “dominionists” and their wish to apply Mosaic law, not unlike the Moslem shari’a. They make Scalito look like Nader, with female children literally passed as chattel from father to husband.

  10. alyosha  •  Oct 31, 2005 @4:10 pm

    It’s much more than Roe. From O’Conner’s supposed moderation, this would shift the balance of the court further right.

    If the D’s don’t pull together and fight this, they are truly worthless. And I am not optimistic.

  11. liza  •  Oct 31, 2005 @5:55 pm

    That was the title I was going to use for a post just now.
    ARGH!

  12. Nony Mouse  •  Oct 31, 2005 @7:03 pm

    “In other words, husbands can veto a woman’s decision to terminate a pregnancy.”
    Nope. In other words, if the state legislature has done something as fool-headed as saying that women, in most circumstances, should tell their husband first (permission was not the issue, notification was), nothing in the federal constitution prevents that (particularly in the 10th amendment). In fairness to the PA legislature, if the kid wasn’t the husbands, was a product of a rape, the husband had run off and the wife couldn’t find them OR if the woman thought that telling her husband might put her in danger, she didn’t have to tell him.

    …pitch a fit over an abortion…
    What type of “fit” are you talking about? Something that would put her in physical danger? Exemption from the law. Something else? Well, you see, they didn’t actually present evidence that any women were actually in that circumstance, and they didn’t attack the law on those grounds.

    Alito said in his dissent (yes, I read the silly thing before I made up my mind) that
    “Because the plaintiffs made a facial attack on Section 3209, they could not rely on a “worst-case analysis” or on proof showing only that the provision would impose an undue burden “under some conceivable set of circumstances” Thus, proof that the provision would adversely affect an unknown number of women with a particular combination of characteristics could not suffice.

    Second, the plaintiffs offered testimony that the exceptions in Section 3209 would not cover a case in which a woman did not want to notify her husband for fear that he would retaliate in some way other than the infliction of bodily injury upon her, such as by subjecting her to psychological abuse or abusing their children. The plaintiffs, however, do not appear to have offered any evidence showing how many (or indeed that any actual women) would be affected by this asserted imperfection in the statute.

    Needless to say, the plight of any women, no matter how few, who may suffer physical abuse or other harm as a result of this provision is a matter of grave concern. It is apparent that the Pennsylvania legislature considered this problem and attempted to prevent Section 3209 from causing adverse effects by adopting the four exceptions noted above. Whether the legislature’s approach represents sound public policy is not a question for us to decide. Our task here is simply to decide whether Section 3209 meets constitutional standards.” [I removed citations, if you want ’em, look it up yourself]

    The lawsuit was saying that this law was unconstitutional, but the way I’m reading this, there were other ways to deal with the law which would have taken into account a possiblity of women having a certain set of characteristics, or even that this might have stood as a challenge if the women with this type of problem weren’t hypothetical to the court.

    Now, if you’re going to sit there and tell me it’s a stupid law, I’m going to agree with you. Just as long as you realize we’re in the minority (less than 30% of the population agrees with us), and that the judiciary isn’t responsible for creating laws. A jury may decide not to convict based on the fact that it’s a stupid law (and I think that the actual orignial judge, if it is not a jury trial, may decide not to convict based on the fact that it’s a stupid law, but I don’t know — also, breaking this was only a misdemeanor, not a felony), but by the time this one came to Alito, the question was whether or not the law was allowable by the Consitution. And nothing ever said that you can’t pass stupid laws or stupid amendments.

  13. maha  •  Oct 31, 2005 @8:36 pm

    Mouse–yes, it’s a stupid law. Essentially, if a woman who is afraid of her husband has to provide documentation that she qualifies for the exemption, it puts a terrible burden on her. If she doesn’t, then that woman is probably just going to lie about having spoken to her husband. The only point of this is to add to women’s emotional stress. It serves no other purpose.

    Now, the question is, by calling this stupid law unconstitional, is this “ruling from the bench”? I say no; it’s protecting the essential right of citizens to be free of burdensome interference from government, which is what the Bill of Rights is all about. This is something I discussed in an old post, here:

    http://www.mahablog.com/oldsite/2005.08.07_arch.html#1123930273109

    Be advised that I don’t generally engage in long debates with righties in this blog. You’ve had your say, I’ve had mine, and now we’re square. Further argument may be deleted unless you say something interesting and original I want to respond to.

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